Florida Luxury Housing Market: A Slow Market Offers Opportunities For Bargain Hunters

While the luxury residential markets in Florida continue to sell briskly because of the influx of overseas buyers, mainly Europeans and Canadians, who are buoyed by their strong currencies, housing analysts say that the market here may finally be showing signs of cracking.

News reports have made headlines of billionaire Donald Trump dropping the price on his Palm Beach property by 20 percent, which has led to market watchers saying that the U.S. housing crunch has finally made its way to the wealthy. While the oceanfront mansions and upscale condos here are surprisingly holding fort, one of the most toxic states in the nation’s housing meltdown may finally be showing some signs of wear and tear.

Waning Enthusiasm Or Activity Is Noted On The Luxury Market

In a recent luxury property auction in the city of Fort Lauderdale, the auctioneer took home after home off the block within moments after opening the bidding, since no one made an offer. In one high-rise condo development in the Miami enclave of Williams Island, a 3,100 square foot penthouse which before was listed at $5.6 million, the bidder opened bidding at $5 million, then lowered the price to $3.5 million, then $3 million and $2.5 million until he closed the the auction.

Some housing market observers noted that there’s just not that much enthusiasm or activity in the luxury market,and after the local real estate market peaked two years ago, local brokers noted that high-end real estate was the only aspect propping up the condo market in areas like Miami, which many consider to be one of the most overbuilt and overpriced in the country.

The Slow Market Is Providing An Opportunity For Bargain Hunters

Based on recent statistics, the median price of condos in areas like Miami gained 6 percent last year, while price drops of around 25 percent or more were seen elsewhere in the state amid the U.S. mortgage crisis, rising property taxes and hurricane insurance problems. The shoreline in Miami offers thousands of waterfront developments that have held their value better than cheaper houses and condos inland, where the foreclosure crisis has battered homeowners. In December, the condo markets in Miami had a bad month, when the median price fell 10 percent.

Auctioneers were also reported to have sold “north of 20” of the 50-plus properties on sale at the Fort Lauderdale auction, where the event offered an estimated $300 million worth of that ranged from a $2.45 million, one-bedroom unit located in Fisher Island, to mansions that soared past $15 million. Housing analysts note that the high end residential market is resilient, and certainly the residential market has corrected since the peak of 2005.

However, a lot of properties were quickly pulled from the auction when no one made an offer, and bargain hunters had an open field. One bargain hunter quickly snapped up two bayfront houses located in Miami Beach’s upscale Venetian Islands, getting one for $500,000 and the other for $1 million. These homes previously had prices of $2.75 million and $2 million respectively in mid-2005, based on county records.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor


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